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  • Introduction

“The old elementary school? That’s been rehabbed into condominiums. You know, a tax credit project.”

The words “tax credit project” trip off preservationists’ tongues like a hot knife through butter. While these preservationists are usually referring to the federal historic tax credit, a number of other tax credits often go into financing the rehabilitation of historic buildings, including low-income, brownfields, and new markets, to name just a few. When these “other” credits are combined with the historic tax credits, the financial projections that perhaps were in the red, suddenly begin to move into the black. And a historic rehab is born.

In the spring 2013 issue of Forum, we brought you “The Rehab Tax Credit: Turbo-Charged!” which took an in-depth look at the federal historic tax credit. This issue looks at some of the other credits available—maybe not created specifically for historic buildings, but credits that nonetheless can benefit historic rehabilitation projects, especially when combined with federal and state historic credits.

We are calling this issue “Extra Credit” Rehabs. Yes, we wanted a zippy title, but the combination of all these various tax credits really does result in A+ rehabilitation projects. From mills transformed into loft apartments, to newly reopened theaters, to vacant storefronts now housing downtown businesses, developers and preservationists have found creative ways to give historic buildings a new lease on life thanks to these critical financing mechanisms.

The contributors to this journal along with the people and organizations profiled qualify as A+ preservationists. They understand how to make “extra credit” projects work and happily for us, they are willing to share their experiences and expertise in the following articles.

Click here for definitions of terms that appear in this journal.

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